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Panjaratan Dum Biryani (Five-Jeweled Vegetable Rice Topped With Puff Pastry.

For the vegetable curry:

1 medium sized russet or Yukon Gold potato, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch cubes and submerged in cold water to prevent browning.

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 medium size red onion, cut in half length wise and thinly sliced

1 cup cauliflower florest (1-inch florets)

1/2 cup fresh or frozen green peas (no need to thaw if frozen)

2 small carrots, peeled, cut in half length wise and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 small green bell pepper (I prefer red peppers), stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 teaspoons Sambhar masala (earlier post in this album)

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt

1 cup tomato sauce, canned or homemade

1 cup Fried Onion Paste (earlier post in this album)

For the rice:

1 cup Indian or Pakistani white basmati rice

2 tablespoons Ghee or butter

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 black cardamom pods

2 fresh or dried bay leaves

2 cinnamon sticks (each 3 inches long)

1 small red onion, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads

1 teaspoon coarse kosher or sea salt

Vegetable Cooking Spray

For the pastry lid:

Unbleached all-purpose flour for dusting

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, completely thawed

(I used a frozen flaky pie crust, thawed)

To make the vegetable curry, drain the potato cubes and pat dry.

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onion and fry until light brown.

Add the potato with the cauliflower, peas, carrots, bell pepper, Sambhar masala and salt. Stirfry to cook the spices gently without burning them 1-2 minutes.

Stir in the tomato sauce, onion paste and 1 cup water, heat to a boil, reduce and simmer until vegetables are fork tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

While the curry is simmering start the rice:

Rinse the rice 3 or 4 times until the water is clear. Fill the bowl halfway with cold water and let rice sit at room temperature until the grains soften, about 1 hour.

Heat the ghee in a medium sauce pan over medium high heat. Sprinkle in the cumin seeds cardamom pods, bay leaves and cinnamon stocks. Cook until they sizzle, turn reddish brown and smell nutty, 15-20 seconds. Immediately add the onion and fry until the slices are light brown around the edges, 3-5 minutes.

Stir in the saffron and let the heat from the ingredients gently unleash its full perfumed potential, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the drained rice and toss to coat the grains. Pour in 1 cup cold water; add the salt, and stir once to incorporate the ingredients. Bring to a boil, cook until the water has evaporated.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350F. Lightly spray the interior of a medium size casserole dish with cooking spray.

Spoon half the vegetable curry into the prepared casserole, spread evently to form the bottom layer. Spread half the rice mixture over the curry. Repeat the layers of curry and rice.

Lightly dust a clean, dry cutting board with flour. Roll the puff pastry out to form a rectangle measuring approximately 12 inched by 10. Drape the sheet of puff pastry over the casserole dish and trim the edges, leaving an overhang of about 1 inch. Press the overhang firmly around the outside making sure the dish is well sealed.

Place the dish in the oven and bake until the puff pastry is honey brown and crisp, 35-45 minutes.

When serving remove the bay leaves, cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks or just remind folks to eat around them.




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